As a young child, I always had a desire to visit Italy. Visions of the food and culture would run rampant in my imagination. I had dreamed of this distant land so much that every detail was vividly etched into my mind. Fast forward to June 2015, when I finally embarked on my journey to visit Milan, Italy. To say that I was excited is an understatement. I started the earlier part of my day taking in the art and architecture of the city with a tour of a near by museum followed by a tour of the Piazza Del Duomo, the largest cathedral in Italy, 5th largest in the world. I had an amazing lunch of Osso Buco with Saffron Risotto (aaamazing) and wine at a nearby eatery and decided to see the city by foot and go on a shopping excursion. I come to a stop light and wait with others for it to change before I crossed. I was the last to cross the street and as I clear to the other side, I look at the very last millisecond to my right, and it was at that moment I froze and emphatically say, “no freaking way!!!” With my heart now racing, I stop and turn completely to my right in total shock and awe. There it stood… the image that had danced around in my head my entire youth and into adulthood of what I envisioned when I thought of Italy. The huge yellow apartment building, with tattered shutters, and the flower planters on the windows and the cobblestone street. Tears now streaming down my face and I’m simultaneously having a deja vu moment. I nervously fumble with my phone to get it to my camera setting to capture this priceless jewel in time. I snap a few dozen pics, grateful to be in this moment. I then just stand there, face laden with remnants of my tears, to take it all in realizing that my inner child, of all those many years ago got to fulfill her dream! Humbled…
It was my last day in Milan, Italy. I had awakened feeling in a state of both happiness and melancholy. Happy that the trip was as amazing as I had imagined it would be but saddened that it was now coming to an end. My butler had gathered my things by the door in preparation for my departure. My ensemble for the day included this huge hat to shield the grief in my eyes of not wanting to leave. As I was walking to the door, I decided to snap one last pic for the road of me in my hat. I go to my camera roll to view my pic and stared for what seems like an eternity. I thought to myself that someday, somewhere, this pic will be the logo for a business venture. Not knowing what business or even how it would begin … I just knew! I turn to leave and arrive downstairs to get in the car awaiting me. The driver greets me, and kindly asks how I was. I say to him, “saddened to leave Milan today, but hopeful of the future.” He smiles looking a little bewildered from my answer as he didn’t know, but I knew. Two years later… the future is now. The Travel Connoisseur was born.